Tender sliced beef in a sticky savory sauce makes for a quick and fun weeknight dinner. This easy PF Chang’s Mongolian Beef is like having takeout, but tastes so much better! And it can be on the table in less than 30 minutes.
Growing up in the south, my mom and grandmothers did not cook Asian style food at home. Instead, we always went out for it. There is a P.F. Chang restaurant less than a mile from where I live and this PF Changs Mongolian Beef recipe is one of my favorites.
Of course, it’s always fun to go out to eat. But making homemade versions of your favorite Chinese takeout can be even quicker than going to your favorite Chinese restaurant. And they’re probably a lot healthier too.
Being a Southerner who doesn’t do much stir fry, I can’t tell you whether this is authentic, my understanding is that it is not, but an Americanized version. However, if you like pf chang’s mongolian beef then you’re going to love this 30-minute dinner with the most tender beef.
This easy weeknight recipe has just a few ingredients and comes together in under 30 minutes. The combination of garlic, ginger, soy sauce and brown sugar makes a deliciously simple stir fry sauce with lots of flavor. You’ll love the mild spicy taste of this easy Mongolian beef recipe.
The beef has a crispy exterior but is tender on the inside, kind of like carnitas. The slightly sweet sauce is great served over rice. I use a half a cup of brown sugar for this Mongolian stir fry, but you can easily cut back on the sugar.
What is the best beef for a stir fry dish
I recommend using flank steak in this recipe, it’s inexpensive yet gets buttery and tender when quickly seared over high heat. We love beef but you could also substitute chicken or pork. No matter what meat you use, you’ll get a scrumptious, filling meal with lots of protein.
How to store ginger root
Have you used fresh ginger before? If not, give it a try in this recipe. The flavor is so much better than powdered ginger. When buying ginger root, look for a piece with shiny, unwrinkled skin without any soft spots. It should smell spicy. You can buy an entire root, or just break off what you need.
If your ginger is fresh enough that it has thin skin, you don’t need to peel it. Otherwise, peel it with a small spoon. I suggest buying extra to use in everything from tea to smoothies to desserts. To substitute fresh ginger for ground, use 1 tablespoon of grated ginger for every ¼ teaspoon of powdered.
If you have leftover ginger that you’ll be using in the next week or so, store it in a Ziploc bag in the fridge. For longer storage, freezing ginger in an airtight bag is a great option. When you’re ready to use it, just pull it out and grate what you need, then pop the rest back in the freezer. There’s no need to thaw it first unless you want to slice it.
Other favorite beef recipes
Slow Cooker Beef is perfect for tacos
Beef Bourguignon is worth the extra effort
A buttery mushroom sauce goes great with Steak Marsala
Why you’ll love it
- Make it in under 30 minutes
- A one-dish meal means easy cleanup
- Just enough spice without being too hot
- Crispy beef that is super tender
- There’s almost no prep work required
- Even the kids will love it
What you’ll need
Flank steak – sliced thin for quick cooking. Flank steak comes from the abdomen of the cow, also called a London Broil. You could also use a sirloin steak.
Corn starch – toss with the steak to give it a crispy exterior
Vegetable oil – you could also use peanut oil
Fresh garlic – you’ll need two cloves
Ginger – for the best spicy-sweet flavor
Soy sauce – I use regular soy sauce but you can substitute a low sodium soy sauce if you prefer
Rice – for soaking up all of the delicious sauce
Brown sugar – dark brown sugar has more molasses and a deeper flavor
Rice – this stir fry recipe is best served over white rice, you can also use brown rice or jasmine rice or even noodles.
Pro tip: To make it easy to get thin slices of beef, pop it into the freezer for 20-30 minutes. The meat won’t actually freeze, but it will firm up so it’s easier to slice.
How to make ginger beef stir fry
Freeze the steak for 20-30 minutes before slicing it into thin pieces. Make sure you slice across or perpendicular to the grain, which is the muscle fibers that run through the meat.
Toss with cornstarch and let sit for 10 minutes.
Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Working in batches, sear the beef slices in a single layer. Cook for one minute on each side and remove to a plate.
Add the ginger and garlic to the pan for about 30 seconds. Then add the soy sauce, water and brown sugar. Boil until thick, about 3-5 minutes.
Toss in the steak and simmer for 1-2 minutes until hot.
Serve over rice and sprinkle with a few tablespoons of scallions.
If you want to add more veggies to your weeknight beef dinner, then try adding some bell peppers, onions or snow peas. Add them to the skillet after you have removed the beef strips.
Pro tip: Coating the beef in corn starch serves two purposes, first it gives the beef a crispy exterior and second, it thickens the sauce.
FAQs and tips
This dish originated in Taiwan, at Mongolian barbecue restaurants. It was created as a less-spicy alternative to Kung Pao Chicken.
Choose the best beef for stir fry, which in my opinion is flank steak. Cut the slices as thin as possible with a serrated knife, always going against the grain.
You can serve it with other sauteed or steamed vegetables, but I like it best with rice. You can add chili sauce or red pepper flakes to make it spicier.
Side dish recipes for beef dinners
If you loved this recipe, give it a star ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating! Also, snap a picture of your finished dish and share it with me on Instagram using the hashtag #butterandbaggage and tagging me @butterandbaggage.
- 1 lb flank steak
- ¼ cup cornstarch
- ¼ cup vegetable oil enough to coat the bottom of a skillet
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 teaspoon fresh ginger minced
- ½ cup soy sauce
- ¼ cup water
- ½ cup dark brown sugar
- ¼ cup scallions green parts, chopped
- 1 cup rice cooked per package
- Cut steak across the grain into thin 4 inch long slices. Place in a bowl and add cornstarch, coating both sides of the strips. Let sit for about 10 minutes.
- Add oil to a skillet over medium high heat. Once hot, add steak in a single layer and cook for about 1 minute until brown, then turn and cook the other side until it’s almost cooked through. Remove to a plate and cover to keep warm. Cook the steak in batches.
- To the skillet, add ginger and garlic and cook for about 30 seconds. Add soy sauce, water and brown sugar and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cook until it begins to thicken, about 3-5 minutes.
- Add steak back to the pan and simmer for a minute or two until the sauce thickens and the steak is hot. Serve sprinkled with scallions over rice.
Barbara’s Tips + Notes
- To make the steak easier to cut, place it in the freezer for a few minutes.
- Cook the steak in a single layer.
- Make sure the skillet is hot when you add the beef to get a crispy exterior.
- You can make this spicy by adding chili flakes.